Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today is the day that reminds us to share some extra love with the people we most care about. For some, it’s a day filled with love, chocolate, and sometimes nice presents. But it’s a day to show that you care about another person. The feeling of someone caring about us is special — it’s what we desire as humans. But before giving love to others, it is important to learn how to love and take care of ourselves first. One way of doing that is practicing self-care — a powerful, yet still uncommon practice.
In simple terms, self-care means that you intentionally take time for yourself and your wellness.
But we all know that following through is not so simple after all. People like to take care of others before even thinking about taking care of themselves. Everything else seems more important, and so, unfortunately, we usually find ourselves left behind.
Self-Care looks Different for Each Person
As mentioned before, self-care helps you to find time for yourself and improve your wellness. But just like we all differ in person, self-care can also differ in its meaning and action to each person. Whereas for some, self-care includes saying ‘no’ and taking a break from their busy schedules. Others might see self-care as an opportunity to say ‘yes’ to a new challenge or to get out and push their self-esteem. Your self-care practice depends on your own body, mind, and personal taste. By practicing your own unique self-care routine, you’ll grow a healthy relationship with yourself and feel better.
Why is Self-Care Important?
In our busy lives, much seems more important than taking care of ourselves. Spending 15 minutes on something that isn’t working can feel unproductive. But self-care is the opposite. Past studies have shown that self-care practices can help you with anxiety, boost your confidence, and improve your overall mental wellness.
Sharing the feeling of mutual love helps people with stress, anxiety, and even our life expectancy! So if we share a mutual love for our own body and mind, we can also benefit from it. Self-love and self-care go hand in hand and so does mental wellness: Let’s have a look at why self-care needs to become a common practice in your schedule and how we can benefit from it.
If you have yet to practice self-care, starting your first self-care activity might seem unnatural. We can help with that.
Here are 3 tips on how to practice self-care so you can share your love with others.
1. Practicing Self-Care Mentally
Caring for your mind is caring for yourself. First, you can acknowledge your feelings and accept your emotions. Noting your mental state will help you work through feelings that are unpleasant. There are many ways to let your feelings surface: you can call a friend or family member and tell them about your feelings. If you don’t like to share them, you can write them down. In fact, you can even start a self-care journal so you’ll be aware of past emotions and they won’t affect you as much anymore.
Practicing self-care mentally also includes how you speak to yourself. Be kind to your mind. If you notice yourself saying bad things to yourself, even if you’re in a joking tone, try to stop yourself from falling into a cycle of self-deprecation.
Instead, repeat these self-love affirmations as a practice of self-care:
“I am beautiful in mind, beautiful in body, beautiful in spirit.”
“I unconditionally love and respect myself in every way.”
“Today I choose to give love,”
“To see the beauty I want to see in the world, I must first see it in me.”
This will only take a few seconds of your day, but you will see a change in your mood and self-esteem! Instead of being your harshest critic, show yourself some love. Accepting who we are and loving what we see in the mirror will bring us peace.
2. Practicing Self-Care Physically
Self-care includes caring for your body, and one way to practice this is to be physically active. Going on daily walks can help you clear your mind of stressful situations or emotions. You will connect with nature during your walk and see the world around you. Even 10 minutes of moving your body (30 minutes are recommended) will boost your mood, energy levels, and productivity too!
You can also make sure that you nurture your body the right way. And yes, that means eating healthy foods, but there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to some soul foods once in a while. Just make sure you have a healthy balance. If you need a little guidance, you can check out a blog about having a stress-relieving diet.
Another important healthy habit that helps our body is sleep. I know, we underrate sleep in our busy lives (especially in students and young professionals). But it is important to let your body rest — even if it means taking a power nap. If you can, try to commit to a sleep schedule and make sure you have all electronics far away, so you won’t even have the temptation to look at Instagram. By allowing your mind to rest, you’ll also be able to be more productive because your brain is fully charged.
Once you learn how to care for your body and stimulate your mind, you’ll see that giving energy and love to others will come more easily.
3. Practicing Self-Care Socially
“Self” and “Social” are not two words that align with each other, but let’s have a closer look at why being social can actually help your self-care. As I mentioned before, having someone telling you that you are important makes us feel great. That’s what self-care is all about; Feeling good about being the best version of yourself. So reach out to your family, friends, or whoever makes you feel good and simply have a conversation (Yes, virtually during Covid). These little but effective ways of feeling loved come a long way.
If you don’t like to be with family and friends because this may increase your stress, there are other ways. Practicing self-care socially does not always mean interacting with other people. Sitting in a cafe or restaurant by yourself can also be therapeutic. Taking a stroll in a park with other runners and dog-walkers yourself is another option. You can surround yourself with people (socially distanced!) even if you don’t talk to them and still feel a sense of peace and love.
How Self-Care will help you give Love
Self-care comes with many benefits. Just like we make others happy when we take care of them, we make ourselves happy when we take care of ourselves. Happiness is great; this feeling boosts our mood and energy levels.
I know self-care isn’t always a priority for most of us, but it really should be. If you have a calendar that you live by - quickly grab it now and schedule in some realistic “me time” blocks every week. You can always make time for something that’s important, and loving yourself should always take priority. Make your self-care a routine — it can be every other day for 10 minutes or even an entire Sunday afternoon; the key is consistency.
Once you are used to showing yourself the love you need and deserve, it will be easier for you to give love -- that’s the beauty of it! As mentioned before, one of the major benefits of self-care is higher self-esteem. Your positivity will overflow to others, and maybe you’ll inspire them to focus on themselves as well.
Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship. So whether you have a Valentine today, don’t wait for someone to send you flowers; nurture yourself so that you can bloom to the fullest. Your own flowers will bring joy and love to those around you!
You are worthy; you are important, you matter, not just on Valentine’s day, but every single day!
By: Jil Johannpeter
P.S. If you want to learn how to show your love more effectively to your Valentine today, check out our previous blog that explains 5 Effective Ways that will Help You Express Love Better